Keegan-Michael Key Is A Shakespearean-Trained Actor

Keegan-Michael Key Is A Shakespearean-Trained Actor

Don’t be surprised to see ‘Friends from College’ star Keegan-Michael Key playing a key role alongside Oscar Isaac in the star-studded cast of ‘Hamlet.’

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>> Stephen: HEY! WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY! ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, YOU KNOW MY FIRST GUEST FROM THE COMEDY
SERIES KEY & PEELE. HE'S NOW ONSTAGE IN "HAMLET." PLEASE WELCOME, KEEGAN-MICHAEL
KEY! ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )
( BAND PLAYING ) >> Stephen: NICE TO SEE YOU
AGAIN! >> JIMMY COLBERT! STEPHEN FALLON! ( LAUGHTER )
>> Stephen: WE'VE SEEN EACH OTHER AROUND TOWN BUT WE'VE NOT
SAT DOWN IN A PROFESSIONAL WAY SINCE LAST SUMMER. >> SINCE LAST SUMMER, YES. >> Stephen: YOU WERE ON ONE OF
OUR LIVE CONVENTION SHOWS, THE G.O.P. >> THAT'S RIGHT, YES. >> Stephen: YOU WERE DONALD
TRUMP'S ONE BLACK DELEGATE. >> ONE BLACK DELEGATE, YES. AND I THINK I WAS FROM SOMEPLACE
CRAZY LIKE MAINE, OR WISCONSIN. >> Stephen: EXACTLY. AND YOU GOT ARRESTED. AND HOW HAS THE YEAR BEEN? HOW HAS THE YEAR BEEN FOR YOU? >> THE YEAR'S BEEN VERY GOOD. I MEAN, I SPENT IS IT MAJORITY
OF IT IN A DEEP FOG, IN A PROFOUND DEPRESSION. NO, WE WERE WORKING ON "FRIENDS
FROM COLLEGE" WHEN THE ELECTION HAPPENED. >> Stephen: THAT'S YOUR
NETFLIX SERIES. >> THE NETFLIX SERIES I'M ON
NOW. WHAT WAS INTERESTING BECAUSE THE
END OF THAT DAY WAS INTERESTING BECAUSE WE WERE SHOOTING, IT WAS
SO FUNNY, BECAUSE IT WOULD BE, LIKE, LISTEN, I DON'T KNOW IF
YOU UNDERSTAND WHERE I'M COMING FROM. AND, CUT, AND EVERYONE WOULD RUN
TO A TV AND WATCH THE TV. NO, WHAT — IS THIS FICTION? WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE? I'M NOT SURE WHAT WE'RE
WATCHING! YOU WOULD BE LITERALLY IN A
SCENE ACTING AND SOMEBODY WOULD WHISPER, HE JUST WON
NORTH CAROLINA! WHILE YOU'RE IN THE SCENE, I
LOVE YOU SO — HUH? I LOVE YOU —
>> Stephen: AND HE'S STANDING OVER THERE GOING, HE JUST WON
NORTH CAROLINA! I FIND JUST CRYING ON AIR HELPS. >> YES. >> Stephen: JUST LET IT OUT. IT'S FOR EVERYBODY. >> Stephen: CONGRATULATIONS. WHAT A PRIVILEGE AND HONOR IT IS
TO BE IN "HAMLET." >> ABSOLUTELY? YOU'RE IN "HAMLET" AT THE PUBLIC
THEATER, YOU'RE PLAYING HORATIO, WHICH IS HAMLET'S BUDDY. >> HIS BEST FRIEND, YES. I CAN'T BE THE ONLY ONE WHO IS
SAYING, REALLY, THAT AMAZINGLY FUNNY GUY IS DOING THE TRAGEDY. WHY DO YOU WANT TO DO TRAGEDY
BECAUSE YOU'RE ONE OF THE FUNNIEST GUYS I KNOW. >> IT'S FUNNY. MY ENTIRE CAREER —
>> Stephen: NO, ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTION. WATER IS FOR CLOSERS. I'M SORRY. ( LAUGHTER )
( APPLAUSE ) >> IT'S ABC, NOT ABD! ALWAYS BE CLOSING, NOT ALWAYS BE
DRINKING! GET IT TOGETHER! I WAS A DRAMATICALLY-TRAINED
ACTOR, A SHAKESPEAREAN-TRAINED ACTOR AND THAT WAS ALWAYS THE
PLAN, AND MY CAREER WENT ON A 19-YEAR DETOUR INTO SKETCH
COMEDY. >> Stephen: WOW. I'VE WANTED TO PLAY HORATIO
FOR ABOUT 23 YEARS. WHEN I WAS IN GRAD SCHOOL I
REMEMBER SEEING THE BIG HAMLET IN THE MOVIE THEATERS AND I
WANTED TO PLAY HORATIO SO BAD. >> Stephen: YOU TINTED WANT TO
PLAY HAMLET? >> I LIKE TO KEEP MY
EXPECTATIONS RIGHT HERE SO THERE'S NO DISAPPOINTMENT. >> Stephen: AT A CERTAIN POINT
DID YOU THINK I'LL NEVER GET BACK THERE BECAUSE I'M A COMEDY
GUY? >> I DID. THE TEAM HAS MADE A REAL EFFORT
TO TURN THE SHIP BECAUSE IT'S BEEN SOMETHING THAT'S IMPORTANT
TO NEE. JORDAN PEELE HAS BEEN EXTREMELY
SUPPORTIVE IN THIS ENDEAVOR. HE'S, LIKE, GO GET YOUR DRAMA
ON, BRO! GET YOUR DRAMA ON! THAT'S HOW JORDAN TALKS, GET
YOUR DRAMA ON! ( LAUGHTER )
>> Stephen: SO YOU'RE DOING IT WITH THE LOVELY AND TALENTED
OSCAR ISAACS. >> YES. >> Stephen: WHO IS
JUILLIARD-TRAINED. >> YES. COULD I GO ON RECORD WITH THE
JUILLIARD, STEPHEN. HE WENT TO JUILLIARD AND GOT HIS
LITTLE DEGREE. I HAVE A MASTERS DEGREE! I HAVE A MASTERS DEGREE! I HAVE A MASTERS DEGREE IN
THEATER! I LEARNED A WHOLE BUNCH OF STUFF
IN SCHOOL AND THEY ONLY LEARNED ACTING! >> Stephen: WOW, YOU'RE A
MASTER IN ACTING. >> I'M A MASTER IN FINE ARTS AND
ACTING. NO, BUT HE'S SO MUCH BETTER THAN
I. ( LAUGHTER )
>> Stephen: PRINCE HAMLET HAS WHAT WE AND THOSE IN SHAKESPEARE
CIRCLES HAS (BLEEP). >> OSCAR IS SO GOOD AT MAKING
EVERYTHING REALLY CLEAR. IF YOU'VE NEVER SEEN HAMLET,
THIS WOULD BE THE PRODUCTION TO SEE BECAUSE THE LANGUAGE IS SO
ACCESSIBLE WHEN HE SAYS IT. I GET A LITTEN ENVIOUS HE GETS
THESE MONOLOGUES, AND I ENJOY THEM, BUT HE ALSO MAKES THEM
VERY FUNNY. IT'S THE FUNNIEST PRODUCTION OF
HAMLET YOU'VE EVER SEEN. THERE IS LOTS OF COMEDY IN
HAMLET. PEOPLE THINK THERE ISN'T. YOU GO, WHY AM I LAUGHING? BECAUSE HE'S SO WITTY NORTHBOUND
HUMOROUS AND THAT'S PART OF THE APPEAL. >> Stephen: HAMLET IS SMARTER
THAN EVERYBODY AROUND HIM. >> EVERYBODY AROUND HIM. HE'S A MORALLY KIND OF AMBIGUOUS
CHARACTER AT TIMES, BUT HE'S SO WITTY. HE'S MUCH LIKE A YOUNG AND
IMPEACHOUS STEPHEN COLBERT. ( LAUGHTER )
NO, BUT HE'S GREAT. I MISS THE MONOLOGUES. >> Stephen: HORATIO HAS
MONOLOGUES. >> HE HAS A FEW MOMENTS. THERE'S A GREAT MOMENT IN THE
BEGINNING OF THE PLAY WHEN THE GHOST OF HAMLET'S FATHER LEAVES
AND HORATIO AND FRIENDS SEE HIM AND HE TAKES OFF. HE SEES THE SUN COME UP AND GETS
SCARED AND HAS TO GO BACK TO PURGATORY. SO I USED TO HAVE A SPEECH
WHERE — >> Stephen: USED TO? WHAT DO YOU MEAN? >> I HAD THIS SPEECH AND IT
STARTED AS A GUILTY THING UPON A FEARFUL SUMMONS. I HEARD HIM AND IN THE SEA AND
FIRE ON EARTH AND AIR THE EXTRAVAGANT SPIRIT ADDS TO THE
CONFINED AND ADDS TO TRUTH HEREIN THIS OBJECT MADE
PROBATION. AND THE DIRECTOR SAID, THAT WAS
BEAUTIFUL. WE'RE GOING TO CUT THAT. I WAS, LIKE, I JUST FIGURED OUT
WHAT IT MEANT! >> Stephen: THERE ARE SO MANY
AMAZING QUOTES, LINES, PHRASES THAT COME FROM HAMLET. >> YEAH. >> Stephen: DO YOU HAVE,
LIKE — >> DO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE. WHEN YOU SEE SOMEONE'S TO THE
MANNER BORN. THE LADY DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH,
WE THINK. KNOCK, KNOCK, WHO'S THERE —
THAT'S LITERALLY FROM MACBETH. WEAR YOUR HEART ON YOUR SLEEVE
IS FROM ATHEMO. I DON'T KNOWCRATY BUT I KNOW
CRAZY, JAMES BROWN. ( LAUGHTER )
YEAH, THAT'S A VERY LITERATE JAMES BROWN. THERE IS, OF COURSE, TO THE
WINDOW, TO THE WALL, TO THE SWEAT DROP FROM MY (BLEEP), YEP,
I THINK THAT'S IN HENRY THE 5th. >> Stephen: RIGHT BEFORE THEY
GO TO THE BREACH. >> RIGHT BEFORE ST. CHRISPIN'S
DAY. SHE WAS BLEEDING OUT OF HER
EYES, SHE WAS BLEEDING OUT OF HER WHATEVER. >> Stephen: SHAKESPEARE. IT WASN'T SHAKESPEARE. IT'S — IT'S — IT'S VLADIMIR
PUTIN. THAT'S WHO IT WAS. >> Stephen: THAT'S EXACTLY
RIGHT. >> OR SOMEBODY WHO WORKS FOR
HIM. >> Stephen: YOU ALSO HAVE
FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE, YOUR SERIES ON NETFLIX YOU WERE
TALKING ABOUT BEFORE. I UNDERSTAND YOU BROUGHT A CLIP
HERE TODAY AND IT'S ALL PEOPLE WHO HAVE GOTTEN TOGETHER
AFTER — >> TEN OR 15 YEARS. SINCE THEY GRADUATED IN COLLEGE,
THEY'RE EITHER 40 OR RIGHT ON THE CUSP OF 40 AND ALL LIVING
TOGETHER BACK IN NEW YORK CITY, AND THE CLIP WE'RE ABOUT TO SEE
IS A CLIP WITH ME AND FRED SAVAGE. I PLAY AN AUTHOR AND FRED SAVAGE
IS HIS AGENT AND THEY'RE TRYING TO BRAINSTORM IDEAS FOR A NEW
Y.A. NOVEL AND THEY'RE SPEAKING TO A YOUNG LADY WHO'S PART OF
THE DEMOGRAPHICS, WHAT WOULD APPEAL TO YOU. >> Stephen: OKAY. JIM? >> I'M (BLEEP) FRANKENSTEIN. WHAT IF HE'S A HODGEPODGE OF
SEXY BODY PARTS? CHANNING TATUM. >> ALL RIGHT, CHANNING TATUM. I THINK THAT'S HELPFUL. STEPHEN COLBERT, THOUGH. WHAT? HE'S, LIKE, THE MOST NORMAL
VERSION OF EVERY PART OF A PERSON. >> WHAT PART OF I (BLEEP)
STEPHEN COLBERT AREN'T YOU GETTING? >> YOU'RE AN OUTLIER IN YOUR
DEMOGRAPHIC. >> Stephen: THAT'S A GREAT
SHOW! THAT'S A DAMN GOOD SHOW AS FAR
AS I COULD TELL! ( LAUGHTER )
DID SHE WRITE THAT IN JUST TO PLAY ON THE SHOW TONIGHT? >> WE FILMED THAT CLIP JUST FOR
TODAY. >> Stephen: WE HAVE TO TAKE A
BREAK. BACK WITH MORE KEEGAN-MICHAEL
KEY. STICK AROUND. ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )
( BAND PLAYING )

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  1. Such a bizarre shade of blue/grey for both suits. It doesn't look "bad" on either person but it certainly doesn't look good. Weird choices all around.

  2. For those wondering, the reason Key's so hoarse in this is because in Hamlet he was basically running around and screaming a lot – very well done, but from what I can tell about the production (they ended up cancelling all the Sunday matinees halfway through the run) it was exhausting for everyone.

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